Read The Shape of Things to Come by Maud Casey Online


Isabelle, a woman in her thirties without any of the trappings of a grown-up life, has just been fired from her job at a San Francisco phone company. Returning to the midwestern suburb of her childhood, Standardsville, Illinois, she contends with her dating single mother, a neighbor who once appeared on The Honeymooners, and an ex-boyfriend. She also becomes a mystery shopIsabelle, a woman in her thirties without any of the trappings of a grown-up life, has just been fired from her job at a San Francisco phone company. Returning to the midwestern suburb of her childhood, Standardsville, Illinois, she contends with her dating single mother, a neighbor who once appeared on The Honeymooners, and an ex-boyfriend. She also becomes a mystery shopper for a temp agency, posing as a variety of potential tenants for newly built suburban communities to access their exclusive services.Enchanted by the possiblities of disguise, Isabelle spins a web of lies that keeps the world at a distance until she unearths long-kept secrets that force her to rethink everything she thought she knew....

Title : The Shape of Things to Come
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780060084417
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 272 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Shape of Things to Come Reviews

  • Xe Sands
    2019-02-23 19:40

    OK first things first. Ignore the cover. Seriously - just rip that thing right off of there so it doesn't influence your thinking about this book (um, but not if it's a library book - no ripping anything off or out of library books). So here's what you must understand about this book: it is not "Chick Lit" or a feel-good romance or anything else inferred by either that inexplicable cover or the synopsis. This, readers/listeners, is a piece of Lit Fic, which means you're in for something far akin to a snapshot of the main character's life, than a plot-driven novel full of suspense or humor or action of any sort. [Warning: whole lot of personal opinion on literary fiction ahead]I LOVE literary fiction. But literary fiction is HARD. It makes you work when you read it. The characters often don't seem to make sense, and just as in life, aren't always all that likable (and not in the hate-him/her-to-love-him/her-hero/heroine way either). The plot seems to take a backseat to the internal processing and musings of the main character, especially in a first-person POV novel such as this one. No one does what seems to be the "next logical step" in a typical fictional progression. In short, I find that literary fiction is a whole lot like life. And not everyone feels like reading about life that reads just *like* life (although much more cleverly phrased). Ain't no judging going on here as I like reading all sorts of things (er, as long as there is lots of pain, angst and "messiness" involved - I'm damaged, what can I say?). But this type of book is MY kind of book. It is perfectly constructed. Casey has a true gift with turns of phrase. Not punch-you-in-the-gut style like Sarah Braunstein (who has that down to a phenomenally well-executed literary science), but bits that make you go, "ohhh, that was amazingly well said." The characters are weird, and in being so, actually more realistic in terms of what people are really like - how weird the inside of their (and thus our) brains really are. Romance is weird and messy. Mother/daughter relationships are weird and messy. Finding yourself in your mid-thirties and suddenly realizing that you have no clue what you should be doing, and having a slow dissolution of self is weird and messy and absolutely realistic. So yes, I recommend this book. It was far more and far better than I expected, from the first page on. But go into it knowing that it's not straightforward, it's not really plot-driven, and you might not like the characters all the time. But it will get under your skin, and Casey's writing strength alone is worth the read. Starting the narration of this today and am looking forward to it like I look forward to an amazing cup of dark roast coffee and the (almost) darkest chocolate I can find - om NOM.

  • Pamela
    2019-03-24 15:31

    This book is a little odd, and funny at times. The main character, Isabelle is just clueless about what to do with her life. That's not what makes this book odd, but how Isabelle behaves is just odd. Isabelle is floundering, trying to figure things out. Even her ex-boyfriend calls her weird, and since they have a history you'd think he didn't need to state something obvious. Some of the actions come out of nowhere and feel author forced at times. It was hard to believe the crazy spontaneous actions sometimes. Or perhaps something was missing from the text to make it more believableThere were a few good moments in the book, a couple of good lines. Since this was the first book from the author, published over ten years ago, I feel hopeful for her latest works. Maybe I'll check one out.overall rating: 2.75 starsmore notes to self: I saw this title on a list of recommended "work sucks fiction" which claimed it was also funny. It does has funny moments, but... well... the book was more about the character trying to be an adult, to find herself and what she wants to do. The work aspect didn't feel like the central theme. It seemed to be about relationships. Isabelle didn't find lasting love in San Francisco, like her mom did. Isabelle feels like she failed already and only in her early 30's. She asks her mom: why didn't you tell me I needed to get married and have kids? This is more center stage than her work. Yet, the novel is surrounded by Isabelle's work. She moves back home after being fired then starts work in a temp agency. Many of the activities in the book are propelled by temp work. This is tempered by the large amount of space devoted to Isabelle's mom's new dating activity, and the neighbor Raymond (not to mention the ex-boyfriend, Isabelle's missing Dad and the mysterious Henry who died).

  • Joanie
    2019-03-01 21:15

    I like this book. I fluctuated between a 3* and 4* because some of the book left me scratching my head and other parts left me nodding, having been there. I finally settled on 4* when I realised this book is something any woman (or man, I suppose) that has recently had a life changing event could easily relate to. Myself included. Who hasn't wished to reinvent themselves to salvage their badly wounded pride and their self-image? Who hasn't looked around and gone. . . Wait, how did I get back to start?This book reminds me very much of a Film Noir, it is a dark, moody read but has brilliant bursts of light. The relationship between Isabelle and her mother never seemed to make any sense to me. But then again, what mother/daughter relationships do make sense? I couldn't really tell if deep down they hated one another or if they loved one another, perhaps it was a little bit of both? I also appreciated the ending. It wasn't fluffy, cinematic or expected - just as real life is.

  • Stephen Dorneman
    2019-03-08 17:15

    Is Crazy Chick Lit a genre? If so, that's where this novel should go. The main character does, well, crazy things I guess because she doesn't know what to do with her life, and so does her mother, and her ex-boyfriend, and her employer, and the neighbor who at least ends up in a mental hospital for his craziness. Silly names of businesses and flip dialogue make this seem like a comic novel, but the actual events are more in the depressing to tragic category. And everybody invades every other character's personal space way too much - a lot of gratuitous touching substituting for actual communication, I guess. Bottom line - I couldn't believe or understand how the characters were behaving enough to care about them. Not recommended.

  • Jason
    2019-02-24 14:23

    I saw this book lying on the sofa and decided to read the first few pages to see what my wife was getting into. This isn't something I'd normally do, our literary tastes are commonly eating at different venues and just based on the cover art, this book is one I would normally steer clear from. But I found the story, and presentation, intriguing and ended up reading the entire book over the next few days. My wife, on the other hand, decided it wasn't for her when she was so close to being finished. Funny how things work. I keep wondering how much of art's execution is influenced by expectation.

  • Grace
    2019-03-13 20:37

    This book didn't make any sense to me. There was only one character that was in any way interesting to me, but character development in general was lacking. There was very little in the way of a plot, and nothing terribly compelling in terms of presenting a "slice of life." I have no more idea what the author was trying to communicate having finished this book than when I started it. In addition to that, it was very sloppily edited, which in my book is pretty much a cardinal sin. I will very rarely say this about a book that I've bothered to read, but don't waste your time on this one.

  • Sonia
    2019-03-19 15:39

    I didn't like Maud Casey's short stories, but I tried this one anyway, and halfway through I saw her in person and liked her a lot--she's super smart and self-reflective. She pointed out that this book is funny in a way that some of her other work is not, and that word helped me get through to the end. It's a big old mess of a novel with a big mess of a central character, but the title is apt--I think this is a writer who will grow on me.

  • Caitlin
    2019-02-22 21:42

    I hesitated between four and five stars, but I realized it was because I liked the book so much that it made me like it less. I almost liked the book too much. Casey is the kind of writer that I aspire to be; she manages to capture the raw, tiny beauty of things, and the amorphous friction of being human, without sacrificing readability or lapsing into navelgazing. Which is to say, she does it all with humor and hope. Maud Casey is my latest obsession.

  • Kendall
    2019-02-23 15:39

    Sister of Nell Casey- who edited Unholy Ghost a collection of writers writing on depression. Maud suffered a major depressive episode (hospitalized- the whole nine-yards). Unfortunately- this book didn't do much for me. The whole thing felt tentative and disconnected. Kind of like a weak version of Douglas Coupland.

  • Sarah Jowett
    2019-03-18 17:33

    I really tried to get into it but when she started doing mystery shoppers and bought a wig and tried on outfits to change her persona, that didn't fly. I did secret shoppers for several years and not once did I ever have to pretend to be someone I wasn't.I really tried to stay with it but the longer it went one, the more interest I lost.

  • Shelley Bainter
    2019-03-09 14:43

    Depressing. I don't buy the conclusion that after such erratic and crazy behavior that this character can move to a new city and everything will be just fine. More satisfying might have been "And then she saw a therapist. The end."I found this on my own bookshelf from 10+ years ago and re-read it. Decided to trash it instead of returning it to precious shelf space.

  • Shannon Ferguson
    2019-03-21 16:27

    I thought this book was going to be a whole lot better than it was based on the accolades it has received. It was depressing and slow and not terribly insightful. A thirties-ish woman returns home from her boring life to live with her mom and have a pretty boring life there, too. But sometimes she wears wigs to make it feel more interesting. Obviously, I was unmoved.

  • Ellie
    2019-02-22 16:20

    So far, I like it. I took written recommendation from Caitlin and I'm glad I did. The story is touching - and hits nerves. I think I'll probably finish it in the next couple of days. I'm glad to get back into reading. It has been WAY too long. I needed a good kick in the arse. Thanks D -

  • Lisa
    2019-03-24 20:40

    I really enjoyed the main character of this book but felt the development of some of the other characters were a little weak. There were weird things happening in the book that I found sort of implausible, but not implausible enough to make them funny. It's not a bad read, just not my favorite.

  • LeAnn
    2019-02-26 22:22

    I absolutely loved this story and even found myself laughing out loud at times! I read it at a time when I was staying in my childhood room at my parent's home for my grandfather's funeral. It could not have been a more appropriate time to read this book.

  • Erin
    2019-03-06 16:27

    This book is classified as a black comedy..I think it would transfer over to film better. I give the author credit for developing interesting characters and an ending that was unexpected. It was a little more depressing overall than I had expected.

  • Anne
    2019-03-17 18:15

    This was ok.

  • Kevin
    2019-03-16 15:25

    Finished reading this the day I met Maud Casey. I told her I really liked her other books.

  • Sue Ann Colvin
    2019-03-03 21:42

    This book is one of my all time favorites. Casey captures the search for identity and reminds us that sometimes we have to figure out who we are not as much as we need to find who we are.

  • Debbie
    2019-03-02 21:42

    Some really nice writing here. The book lost me in the places but I liked it enough to stay with it through to the end.

  • Thom Dunn
    2019-03-13 15:32

    I copied this author-title from a dust jacket....damn machine won't let me click on "to-read".

  • Kate
    2019-03-13 18:17

    A fun read with a lot more substance and heart than the chick-lit-ish cover would suggest.

  • Ruth Conrad
    2019-02-23 22:39

    Different, but I liked it. Quirky characters, who haven't settled into their lives yet.

  • Elizabeth
    2019-03-13 20:40

    2 1/2 stars. I just couldn't get into this one, although I did carry through to the bitter end.